Aug 6, 2018

9th Grade Plans


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This year I will officially have two kids in high school! I say "officially" because he actually did a lot of high school level work last year. Nate will enter 9th grade with 6.5 credits already under his belt.

Some of these subjects he will do alone, but a lot of them he is doing together with his sister. They have always pretty much done the same work. He is a little behind her in the number of credits earned, but he could easily graduate the same year she does. I'm hoping that is not the case, however, and keep telling him he is a grade behind her even though grades are merely a social construct. lol


Geometry (1 math credit)

Math U See, of course. We have high hopes for enjoying Geometry and that it will be easier than Algebra! If not, we have our trusty tutor on speed-dial. That help made such a difference last year!

Chemistry (1 science credit)

Once again I am outsourcing their science. Biology with a science-loving expert teacher (and a friend to learn with) went so well for the teenagers that we are going to do it again. They are already looking forward to it! They will be using Apologia Chemistry.


World History (1 social studies credit)

I am creating my own course for them. I wanted a two year overview of world history on a high school level that was fun and reading heavy. So I combined readings from Mystery of History and Streams of Civilization, added in mapping assignments from Story of the World, tossed in a little timeline, a little notebooking, a research paper or two, and finished up with a reading list of historical fiction and some YouTube videos. I am being as detailed and as simple as I can with the lesson plans so I can just hand them over and let them run with them because that is how they do best.

Lit. (1 English credit)

Nate will be doing British Lit. this year. And by that I mean he will be reading and discussing lots of books, taking an IEW class, and working his way through the last bit of Fix It! Grammar that he will be finishing up this year.

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Those are his core credits for the year and his electives, except for Fine Arts, will all be .5 credits. They are as follows:

Journalism (.5 elective credit)

We are outsourcing this, too. Kaytie took a .5 credit in our co-op in 8th grade and was thrilled when the teacher offered it on her own this fall. She jumped at the chance to sign up. Nate did not take that class, but he loves this teacher, so he signed up, too! We are even giving up, without a second glance, some of our precious morning school time to get a chance at this class.


Drama (1 Fine Arts credit)

My kids want to do drama, and there doesn't seem to be an inexpensive way to do that around here. So I'm doing what all homeschooling mamas do in this situation... making my own class. I'm including middle school in the class, but expecting kids who want a high school credit to do extra work.

Speech (.5 credit)

I am teaching IEW's Boot Camp again this year. It looks like a smaller class than last year, but one of Nate's best friends is taking it, so he's happy. It is only a one semester class, so the second semester Nate will be taking...

Photography (.5 credit)

We haven't exactly worked out how he will earn this credit, but he loves photography and we agreed this would be a great credit for him to earn. We have plenty of time to figure out the details. We are hopeful that the journalism teacher mentioned above will offer a photojournalism class. If so, it will fill this credit.

P.E. (1 credit)

This is covered by two soccer seasons plus trips to the gym whenever needed.

Texas History

Although he isn't technically getting a credit for this class, I am making him take it because everyone should learn their state's history, especially when one lives in such an epic state as Texas. I am teaching this class so he gets a free seat. I'm sure he'll have fun.


So he will finish his Freshman year with 14 credits already out of the way!

Aug 3, 2018

10th Grade Plans

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I find it so hard to believe that my baby girl is in 10th grade! It really doesn't seem that long ago that she and I started out on our educational journey. We read so many books, played so many games, did so much art. Now we still read books and play games but I leave the art strictly to her because she passed me up years ago!

We are enjoying high school. I know it is supposed to be this big scary thing that makes people want to quit homeschooling altogether, but we are finding it so much easier and more enjoyable the farther we go. She loves her independence and I love the fact that she does her work quickly and efficiently with only minimal support from me. She really loves all her free time to pursue her own learning interests.

Last year she completed seven credits. This, in addition to the two and half credits she earned in 8th grade gives her nine and a half credits. If all goes as planned, she will finish 10th grade with 17 credits.

Here is what she will do this year:

Geometry (1 math credit)

Math U See, of course. We are hoping that Geometry makes more sense to her than Algebra did. If not, we have our trusty tutor on speed-dial. That help made such a difference last year!

Chemistry (1 science credit)

Once again I am outsourcing their science. Biology with a science-loving expert teacher (and a friend to learn with) went so well for the teenagers that we are going to do it again. They are already looking forward to it! They will be using Apologia Chemistry.

World History (1 social studies credit)

I am creating my own course for them. I wanted a two year overview of world history on a high school level that was fun and reading heavy. So I combined readings from Mystery of History and Streams of Civilization, added in mapping assignments from Story of the World, tossed in a little timeline, a little notebooking, a research paper or two, and finished up with a reading list of historical fiction and some YouTube videos. I am being as detailed and as simple as I can with the lesson plans so I can just hand them over and let them run with them because that is how they do best.

Lit. (1 English credit)

Kaytie loved Characters in Crises so much that we knew she just had to follow up with When Worlds Collide. She also has a reading list of poems and short stories to go along. Our only real problem with Lit this year is what to call it? It isn't British Lit, American Lit or World Lit and Poetry Lit just sounds dumb. We will have to come up with something, eventually!


20180802_123849

Those are her core credits for the year and her electives, except for Fine Arts, will all be .5 credits. They are as follows:

Journalism (.5 elective credit)

We are outsourcing this, too. Kaytie took a .5 credit in our co-op in 8th grade and was thrilled when the teacher offered it on her own this fall. She jumped at the chance to sign up. We are even giving up, without a second glance, some of our precious morning school time to get a chance at this class.


Drama (1 Fine Arts credit)

My kids want to do drama, and there doesn't seem to be an inexpensive way to do that around here. So I'm doing what all homeschooling mamas do in this situation... making my own class. I'm including middle school in the class, but expecting kids who want a high school credit to do extra work.

Driver's Ed. (.5 elective credit)

I think this speaks for itself. I'm excited about the chance to hand off my chauffeuring duties. She's excited that she won't have to wait for me to drive her to the store to buy the sketch books that she needs every other day or so.

Home Ec. (.5 elective credit)

She can already clean, cook, bake, do laundry, take care of babies/toddlers, meal plan, grocery shop and manage small mending projects. So in addition to still doing all of that... we are going to work on minor house repairs (mostly toilets lol), budgeting and bill paying and car maintenance. If we think of any other life skills, we will throw those in as well!

P.E. (1 credit)

This is covered by two soccer seasons plus trips to the gym whenever needed.

Texas History

Although she isn't technically getting a credit for this class, I am making her take it because everyone should learn their state's history, especially when one lives in such an epic state as Texas. I am teaching this class so she gets a free seat. I'm sure she'll have fun.


For her extra-curricular activities, she is secretary on the chess club board, attends two classes at our co-op, will be teaching art to her younger brother and sister, singing in a youth choir, and helping out with her other brother's film group.

Aug 1, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Home School in the Woods Renaissance and Reformation

I know I have mentioned this before, but I love history. It has always been my favorite subject. I was a homeschooled kid and I learned history by reading books. Lots of historical fiction. So I know a lot about the times and topics that I had good books for and not much about any of the others.

My kids are not so thrilled about history. So I tempt their interest with fun and engaging products like Home School in the Woods! I love to review their products! This review is for Renaissance and Reformation which is from their Project Passport World History Studies. The great thing about this is that it is hands-on history. The kids create and explore in many different ways.


Home School in the Woods

We were given a download of the product that contains all the information you need. You will also need basic art/crafting supplies (glue, pencils, crayons, scissors, etc) and to be prepared to do a whole lot of printing!

The information is given to you in two ways. First, it is divided up into PDFs of the text, itineraries,  teacher keys, instructions, masters of all the pages you need to print, and lapbook covers. All the MP3 files can be accessed directly through here as well as pictures and instructions for the lapbooks and passports.

Or, you can just click on Start Here and it takes you to the Internet link where everything is laid out for you in order with tons of instructions. It looks like this....


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with all the links clickable so you can go right to all the instructions and needs to be printed pages so you know where to go and what to do when. This is the option I like. The only thing I don't like about this is that it doesn't open in a new tab, so I have to switch back and forth a lot.

Beginning with a "how to", some quick tips, an overview, some extra resources, and a bibliography, the site has everything you need linked up in the order you need it. I find it super easy to plan our way. I click links, print off what I want, make notes of what I need to return to as I teach, and simply click away from the bits that don't interest us.

And if there are things that don't interest you, it's ok, because there are plenty of other things to do! In fact, there is simply no way to do all the things you find in Project Passport.

Each lesson is called a "Stop" and there are 25 of them. For each Stop there is an Itinerary, which is your instructions for what to print, what to do, and all the information you need to know how to do it all. The instructions are divided by project, so you can easily tell what you need to do based on the projects you picked to do. This keeps you from any unnecessary work or confusion. The Itinerary is easily my favorite part of the program. I don't print these, because I plan way in advance and I don't need to, but you easily could if you need the reference away from your computer.

Each Stop also contains a Guide Book Text. This is a page or two of information that tells you the actual history you are meant to learn. It is just a basic overview, so you can stop there, or you can use it as a jumping off place to delve deeper into any part that catches your child's attention. The student can read the Guide Book Text off the computer or you can print it off for them to put in their notebook and read. I read them aloud to all of my kids at once, which is not only a time saver, but also allows us to discuss as we read.

Next, are the links to the PDFs of the projects. Each project is clearly marked by type. There are projects for you to put into a scrapbook, projects for a lapbook, art projects that teach an art form from the Renaissance era, edible projects (yummy!), games, 3-D projects,  postcards, writing a newspaper, and some audio "tour guides" for you to listen to. Some of the projects fit more than one type, of course.

Now, although each Stop is a lesson, you do not have to do an entire Stop in one session, nor do you have to limit yourself to one Stop at a time. The best plan is to have several Stops ready to go and just keep working until your student is ready to stop. My kids tire of guided projects quickly, so we would just do a couple of things each day. This made our progress slow, but that's okay because it was also steady!

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And that brings me to how we used Project Passport in our homeschool. As I mentioned before, I plan a few Stops in advance. This means I look over the material and print as needed. When we are ready to work, I start by reading the Guide Book aloud for everybody, leaving room for questions or comments. Then we work our way through the projects I have chosen to do.

During the course of the study, so far we have learned about why it is called "Renaissance" and why it led so swiftly to the Reformation. We have visited Florence and read about Da Vinci and the day to day life of the common people, including their food and clothing! We delved into the art of the time and created some of our own. We read about "masses", "motets" and "madrigals" and about Palestrina, Byrd and Pierre de La Rue!

Next up is Shakespeare, and we are excited! There are a lot of fun things in that Stop!

Renaissance and Reformation naturally has lots of art projects included. Kaytie really enjoyed working with pastel, painting with eggs and Chiaroscuro. I love that the notebooking pages are in the form of "newspapers". We all enjoy the audio tours. My favorite projects are the timelines and the maps. The younger kids enjoy the lapbook elements. Abbie in particular is looking forward to making a paper version of Globe's theater and puppets to act in it!

Home School in the Woods offers many different products: Activity Paks, Time Travelers, Lap Packs, and more. We have explored many of them and recommend them all!

Over the last few years, we have worked our way through most of the Project Passport World History Studies, so we are excited to see that the final one is now available! Ancient Rome can be purchased on its own, or as a part of a bundle with the complete Passport Series!


Project Passport Ancient Rome


Hands-on-History, Project Passport, À La Carte Timelines and Time Travelers {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
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Jul 30, 2018

Our Fall Plans

Are you already thinking about next year? Our year is going to be pretty full, so I am already swimming hard in the enormous ocean of lesson plans, schedules, lists. Lots and lots of lists.

The amount of work that we do all together gets smaller and smaller every year. This year it is pretty much limited to Morning School and that will last an hour or less.

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This is what we will do together:

Read a chapter or passage of the Bible, the kids chose which book we will read.

Sing 3 hymns (a monthly one, a weekly one, and a daily review one)

Read aloud a fiction book (always before, this book has pertained to our current history theme, but since we are doing different histories this year I don't know if I will stick to that or just pick a great book to read)

We will alternate:
Poetry memorization (we usually wing this, but this year we are going to follow IEW's course)
Scripture memorization We always memorize whole chapters or at least an entire passage at a time.

And then we will rotate:
Art Study
Do Hard Things
Logic (using my old college textbook, won't that be fun?)
Music Appreciation
and maybe Church History

And by rotate, I mean, do one a day in a loop schedule fashion.

Since we have extra kids and I have a full afternoon, I want to keep it short and sweet with no fluff and no wasted time. Everything on my list is something I feel strongly that we should keep. I'm not trying out anything new or experimental. This will be the year of the practical!

As I post specific plans for each kid, the links below will go live:

Kaytie, 10th grade
Nate, 9th grade
Daniel, 7th grade
Abbie, 6th grade
Bonus kids: 8th and 7th grade, flying blind, sort of

Jul 25, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Love, Honor and Virtue

I have two teenage boys (well, one will turn thirteen in a couple of months) so I was happy to get a chance to read Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality, published by Great Waters Press. It is available as an ebook download, physical copy or mp3 download. 

Parents of six boys themselves, Hal and Melanie Young write practical  books about parenting boys to adulthood with a "Christ-centered focus". 

This particular book is, as you probably already guessed, about teaching your sons God's view on sex and how to follow His path rather than the world's. This book is short, only six chapters with a forward and a conclusion. It is a quick read, but not a soft, easy read. It pulls no punches but frankly discusses sex, porn, temptation, and relationships. However, it always points back to Biblical principals as its guiding light. 

Love Honor and Virtue by Hal and Melanie Young

Love, Honor and Virtue is written directly to the young man. It begins with a forward that explains to him that he is in a battle. Satan is attacking and one of the methods is uses is sexuality. This is serious stuff. 

In the first chapter, Sex Was God's Idea, it is explained that sex is created for us to enjoy within the right parameters. 

Chapter Two, It's All Connected, gives "The Talk", starting with puberty and explaining everything including pregnancy and childbirth. It is discretely done, but it's all there. And it is reiterated that sex is great and it is for marriage. 

Chapter Three, The Enemy Perverts God's Design talks about when it's not great. In other words, porn, "hook-ups", lust, and general lack of self-control. It discusses these issues frankly and explains not just that they are Biblically wrong but how they hurt us and why God tells us not to do these things. There are no "victim-less sins"! 

Chapter Four, How Can A Young Man Keep His Way Pure, shares practical, Biblical ways to flee temptation. With the Five Point Defense, accountability and some tools, this chapter gives him the weapons he needs to defend himself, but also points out that he has to use them. This is not a passive fight. You must pursue holiness, it doesn't just show up. 

Chapter Five, Recovering From a Fall, explains if and when you mess up, that there is forgiveness for sin. But it doesn't just stop there, it also gives practical tips on how to start back on God's road, how to beat the addiction, and how to get the help you need. It doesn't sugarcoat the struggle. This type of sin is an addiction and it is hard to fight when you have succumbed to the temptation already. In this chapter you will find real-life examples of the danger of pornography as well as real-life examples of guys who beat the addiction. You can beat it, too.

Chapter Six, Guys and Girls, talks about relationships with girls from "just friends" to marriage and how to go from one to the other. While there are some cautions in this chapter, it does also point out that there are few Biblical rules about dating and courtship. The "six inch" rule, boys asking the girls' dad for permission, group dating only... none of those are proscribed by God. There are some principles to follow (respect, honoring parents, moral standards, etc) but no set pattern of one right way to go about it.

And in conclusion, times have changed and the fight for Love, Honor and Virtue is more difficult than in times past, but it is still a fight that the Lord can and will help you win.  

I thought this book was rather well done. I liked that it was honest and open. I really appreciated that no blame for the young man's temptation was shifted to girls, but that the boys were given practical tools to fight their own temptation. Girls are not blame for a boy's sin nature and with God's help, that temptation can be overcome!

I also appreciated the relationship advice. I have taught my kids since they were little that there are no "rules" when it comes to dating except for respecting others. I believe in fostering friendships and saving romance for adulthood. Why date when it can lead nowhere? As a psychology major, I might have thrown in the story of Pavlov's dogs and a few technical terms like habituation, but the point remains the same. It was fun to read a book that agreed with me because too many of the books that I have read in the past have been so rule-heavy! 

I am happy to have this book to share with my boys and I highly recommend it! See what other Crew members have to say about this book and Great Waters Press other book No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope

You can also read my own review of No Longer Little.

Love, Honor, and Virtue  AND No Longer Little {Great Waters Press Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Homeschool Review Crew: No Longer Little

When my kids hit about the age of ten, it felt like their brains fell right out of the heads and every single emotion in their body swelled five times its original size and took right over. It was shocking. 

No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope from Great Waters Press would have prepared us for this phenomenon. This is a practical book on how to parent those crazy, emotional kids while keeping your relationship with them intact. It is available as an ebook download or physical copy. 

With eight kids of their own, (several of them grown) Hal and Melanie Young have a lot of experience raising pre-teens! They have written several parenting books that I have enjoyed in the past, so I settled down to read this book with great anticipation.

There are twelve chapters in No Longer Litter that cover hormones, emotional upheaval, brains falling out, spiritual questioning, sex, social awkwardness, media, family conflict, transitioning to the next stage, coming of age ceremonies, stewardship and looking forward to high school. 

No Longer Little is entertaining, full of real life stories about kids just like mine. It is inspiring, with success stories and a lot of Scripture. It is encouraging, with an honest look at the difficulties but plenty of practical tips on how to navigate them. It is informative, with lots of details on what to expect and a plethora of tips and advice on how to preserve relationships and guide your kids through a tumultuous time in their lives. 

No Longer Little by Hal and Melanie Young

Because my youngest is nearly twelve and my oldest two are already teenagers, I admit I read this book with an attitude of "I wish I had known that before!" But there was also a lot of head nodding in agreement. I feel like No Longer Little accurately described the transition kids go through as their emotions implode and they struggle to understand their changing bodies and achieve the grown up status they so desperately crave. 

I enjoyed the glimpse into the Young's family life, so like my own, with kids who struggle but also succeed. It is a hopeful, encouraging book with plenty of humor. I loved that they focused more on the positive "do it this way" examples that they have seen and experienced rather than negative "all these people are dumb, bad and wrong" that a lot of parenting books rely on. 


I especially appreciated the advice in the Media chapter. It frustrates me so much when people parent out of fear and I love the Young's perspective of raising kids with intentionality: guiding them through social media use and the perils of the Internet so they know how to use them instead of shielding and protecting them then throwing them to the wolves when they grow up and move out. 

In fact, I agreed with their position through out the book and am happy to highly recommend it to you! It is an especially good read for parents whose kids are in the seven to nine year old range. Read this book before you need it and not after, like I did.   

Click on the banner below to see what other Crew Members have to say about these two books from 
Great Waters Press.

You can also read my own review of Love, Honor and Virtue

Love, Honor, and Virtue  AND No Longer Little {Great Waters Press Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

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